Harry’s Cafe and Steak, NYC

Harry’s Cafe and Steak

Executive Chef: Harry Poulakakos
Cuisine: Steakhouse, American
Neighborhood: Financial District
Price: $15-$20 brunch entrées, includes unlimited champagne cocktails
Address: One Hanover Square, NY, NY 10004
Phone: 212-785-9200

As rich in history as the Indian House building in which it occupies the basement, Harry’s was established in 1972 and has since become a Wall Street institution, immortalized in the movies The Bonfire of the Vanities and American Psycho. Harry Poulakakos, a native of Sparta, Greece came to the United States in 1956 in hopes of finding a rich uncle. When that venture proved false, he began working and rose through the ranks at local bars and restaurants, including Oscar’s Delmonico’s. Later with his wife, Adrienne, Harry opened the original Harry’s as well as two other locations, one at the American Stock Exchange Building and one at the Woolworth Building.  Their son, Peter, also joined the family venture and after graduating from Georgetown, opened his own restaurant named Bayard. The family business grew even more to include Financier Patisserie and Ulysses’ Folkhouse. After Adrienne’s death, however, Harry shut down the last of his eponymous restaurants, but upon further contemplation, let his son revive the original Hanover Square location. The old bar was removed and the space was divided into two parts: a formal steakhouse and a more casual cafe. The latest father-son venture is Gold St, opened in 2007, which they run with two other business partners. History lesson done, I promise.

As much as I love going out on Stone Street, especially during Oktoberfest and Oyster and Guinness Fest, I had never been to Harry’s until this weekend. I went for brunch with some friends, and will honestly say, Harry’s is now in my top 5, if not top 3 favorite brunch spots. The fact the Saturday brunch comes with unlimited champagne cocktails may have swayed this ranking. But aside from the cocktails, the service is quick and immaculate. Our server brought us Bellinis before he brought us water. The portions are generous and the food is delicious. Although the place was bustling on a Saturday afternoon, we never felt rushed and honestly stretched out our meal as long as possible to enjoy extra Bellini and Mimosa refills.

The food is traditional American brunch fare, but on the fancier side. The salmon scramble is served on a toasted brioche. The BLT comes with chipotle mayo, and there is even a lobster roll on the brunch menu. With the fanciness, come the prices. The brunch is slightly more expensive than it would be at comparable NYC restaurants, but the unlimited cocktails make the meal well worth the price.

Jam and Breads
Sweet and delicious. Loved having these with tea.

Duck and Mushroom Hash with Poached Eggs & Toast
Freaking amazing hash. Poached eggs are also my favorite egg preparation, which made the dish that much more amazing.

Smoked Salmon Scramble with Toasted Brioche and Cream Cheese Fondue
I love smoked salmon, and this scramble did not disappoint. I expected way less salmon/egg ratio and this dish was generous. The toasted brioche was a great touch versus regular toast, and it sucked up all the juices marvelously.

Tuna Club on 7 Grain Bread, Wasabi Mayo
Typically not a fan of seared tuna, but I really enjoyed this sandwich. Tuna was not overcooked, it was fresh and tasted healthy. Wasabi mayo added a great kick.


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